I can’t really imagine giving birth without Ebony. I know that might sound weird to some and that for many the thought of a miniature audience is probably quite horrifying, but I really can’t imagine giving birth without her there. I have heard many mothers tell me that their contractions didn’t really kick in until the kids had been shipped off with grandparents, but I think I will feel way more relaxed knowing she’s with me.
I don’t see birth as something scary or medical or something which needs to be hidden from children. I see it as something amazing, a special occasion that only a handful of people ever get to witness. What better way to greet your new brother or sister than by being a part of the welcome party present at the birth?!
We’ve spent months preparing Ebony for the birth. I must have read the book Hello Baby hundreds of time. Incidentally, if you’re planning a home birth with siblings present, make sure you have a copy of Hello Baby (£7.99 and available here). It’s such a wonderful book, I rarely get through it without crying. It talks about things like the placenta, the midwife and the noises you might hear at a birth. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed snuggling up in bed with Ebony and reading this book to her while the baby kicks and swirls inside my tummy.
Ebony is pretty fascinated by birth. She knows how special it is to actually see a baby be born and how lucky she is to be able to be there to be one of the very first people to cuddle the new baby. I know there’s a risk that it won’t quite work out, after all, nothing is certain, but I’m really hoping she’ll get to be there. When I imagine it, I imagine things starting in the night whilst she’s fast asleep in bed and her waking up (or being woken) just in time for the grand finale.
Just in case it doesn’t work out quite like that, however, I’ve put together a birth box of things to keep her entertained at the birth. We’ve talked a lot about the importance of staying calm during birth and how important it is that there’s no shouting because that might make the baby want to stay inside. And we’ve talked about how busy the midwives will be and how Laurie might be busy looking after me so she might have to get herself a drink if she’s thirsty. So far, she’s being very accepting of all of this, I only hope this continues on the day!
I wanted to create a birth box for her. It’s a surprise and she won’t be given it until I’m in labour. The idea is that it will provide her with things to do during the birth to stop her getting bored. And, most importantly, it contains the baby blanket for when she’s born. You see, when I was pregnant with Ebony, I started knitting a blanket. And then I never finished it. I tried a couple of times when she had been born, but she kept growing which meant the blanket had to get bigger and bigger which made it a very time-consuming activity. So I just never got around to finishing it. When I found out Ebony was going to be a big sister, I decided I would have to get that blanket finished. And, I’m pleased to say, I did. Yesterday. Because I like to live on the edge and cut things fine. Her baby blanket is a lot bigger than the one I have knitted for the new baby and it has taken many, many hours to complete. She knows I’ve knitted a blanket for the new baby so I’m hoping she’ll be pleased to discover I’ve made one for her too.
The box also contains a pair of new pyjamas. Ebony chose a first outfit for the new baby and it seems only fair that she should have a new outfit to wear too. I decided to get pyjamas so we can all snuggle up and have a nap together the day after the birth, so I’m hoping the new pyjamas will tempt Ebony to stay sleeping a little while longer. Wishful thinking, I know. But they are Little Bird so it might work.
I bought her a couple of books to keep her entertained. My favourite is The New Baby, I ordered it on a whim but am so glad I did. It’s a really beautiful book with bright illustrations and sweet activities to keep big brothers and sisters entertained. There are some lovely activities included from filling in a family tree to drawing a picture of what you think the baby might look like. It looks like the perfect book for a creative kid so I’m hoping it’s going to be a hit. I also ordered an Usborne New Baby sticker book because you just can’t go wrong with a sticker book, can you? And I found a little doodle book at my local charity shop for 10p which I thought would be good if she fancied drawing.
As well as the workbooks, I wanted to put in a toy to keep her busy. She is at a great age now where she gets completely lost in imaginative play so I decided to include something she could play with. I wanted something baby themed so I decided to get her this little Playmobil set featuring a new baby, changing table and accessories.
I’m also planning to put her camera in the box. She has a digital camera we got her for her third birthday. It’s waterproof and drop proof so I figure it will be safe at the birth. Giving small children jobs can help them feel involved, so I figured I’d ask her to take some nice photos. And finally, the box will contain some snacks so she can help herself to food if she gets hungry. I can’t imagine anything worse than spending a contraction listening to someone whine about being hungry so hopefully, this will prevent that.
I didn’t want to put too much in the box because I didn’t want her to get overexcited about the new toys. I just wanted a few things to hand to keep her busy in case she starts growing bored. But I’m really hoping she’ll be too busy excitedly awaiting her new brother or sister to really do much.
If you’ve had children at your birth, how did you keep them entertained and ward off any potential meltdowns?